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Building New Business in Volatile Markets

During up-markets, things are generally good for clients. There’s less chance for advisors to show their full value and little motivation for anyone’s clients to switch to someone new. We see organic growth rates drop, and many advisors line up behind the market, depending on it to set the pace for practice growth.

In turbulent or down-markets, however, clients typically experience pain and advisors have the opportunity to show what they’re made of. While some advisors stay in the background and avoid tough conversations, others move to the front to provide leadership for their clients and others. This is when clients change advisors and meaningful practice growth can occur! 

Adding the right clients

No one needs more clients who aren’t the right fit. First, identify who your ideal client is. Start by looking at your favorite, engaged, highly profitable clients. What are the common elements that make them a good fit? These could be personality or service-related characteristics. Knowing your ideal client profile and how you can solve their problems means that you can educate clients and other referral sources to send you the right prospects.

Optimizing client referrals

During market fluctuations, you provide the needed leadership so leverage the feelings of appreciation you are generating and make it easy for clients to connect you with others in their network who need your help.

Introductions vs. Referrals

When a client gives you a stranger’s name to reach out to, it can be very difficult to connect with that person. With introductions, you’re asking clients about the possibility of meeting with someone they know, whose name you’ve already collected (name sourcing). You might gather these names through online research, or by listening and asking about people as your clients share the details of their lives. At a future meeting, you might ask if it makes sense for you to meet with that person, or you can say that you’d like to meet them, and ask if the client can introduce you.

Second opinions – Building business by solving problems

With this approach, you offer a complimentary financial review (for someone the client or COI knows) to help put them at ease during volatile times. The conversation may start with, “I’ve had numerous clients ask me if I would be willing to meet with one of their friends or family members, who is concerned about their current financial situation. I’m happy to do that for you. There’s no charge, and I’ll let them know if there are changes they might consider or if everything looks okay, based on their situation.” This helps you broach the introduction topic and gives the client a bridge to make it happen. A handout, explaining your second opinion process, makes it easier for them to explain the value and purpose of the meeting to others.  

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